Have you ever wondered why people steal? We view theft as a wrong action, and of course it is, but do we ever get down to the root-cause of the ‘wrong action’ or do we assume that the person committing the act is all together bad? We’ve been talking about the different ways people steal from themselves and others, whether it’s stealing from our own or someone else’s energy sources without giving back or it’s stealing for survival or status, there are plenty of ways in which we steal. The funny thing is though, I’ve only really been able to research and identify two reasons which drive us to steal: 1) out of fear and 2) out of a need to impress.
If we think about it, both stem from the idea that we are not enough; either we don’t have enough to meet our basic needs and we fear we never will or we feel that we are lacking in some intangible way, flawed in some character, and we want to build ourselves up in front of others. But, why do we feel the need to do these things when we know that stealing is a wrong action? Likely, it has to do with our patterns, our tendencies, our samskaras (impressions).
We’ve talked in the past about the idea that our truths are colored by our perceptions, experiences, histories, and these samskaras (impressions) are the pathways left behind by these previous actions. These impressions are habitual patterns which can manifest in both positive and negative ways based on whether we have perceived something as positive or negative. In yoga, we believe that like creates like, meaning that when our patterns are negative, like stealing, we’re likely to continue to repeat them if we do not intentionally work toward breaking negative patterns and finding an alternative, more positive path.
The good news is that the opposite is also true, if we our intentional about the way in which we live and view the world, we are more likely to develop positive samskaras (impressions). Asteya (non-stealing) teaches us to live abundantly, to live in the space of not only the avoidance of taking that which does not belong to us, but also the space in which we freely give of ourselves. By looking for ways to give of our time and talents without the expectation of return on investment, we begin to build positive habits which ultimately leads to true happiness, the knowledge that we are exactly enough.